Big Man On Campus: Mike Hogervorst of Holland easily towers over fellow students

At 6 feet, 11 inches, Mike Hogervorst, #34, towers over everyone else on the court. He's the tallest guy on campus.

At 6 feet, 11 inches, Mike Hogervorst, #34, towers over everyone else on the court. He’s the tallest guy on campus. Photo by Mark Collier.

Mike Hogervorst stands at a towering six feet and 11 inches and wears a size 15 shoe. He’s from the Netherlands and he’s currently attending Norwich and plays basketball on the Norwich men’s team.

Hogervorst’s daily schedule isn’t much different from any other Norwich student. He attends classes and attempts to sneak in a nap or two, but unlike other students Hogervorst ducks his head under an occasional doorway or two and sleeps on a bed that happens to be shorter than he is.

Hogervorst, a 20-year-old sophomore majoring in electrical engineering, is clearly the tallest student on campus. That helps when it comes to basketball. He plays center position on the Norwich University team and has scored over 300 points during the season and pulled down, not surprisingly, 132 rebounds – the most on the team.

Hogervorst’s rank as the tallest student on campus is not surprising to him, since he comes from a tall family. Hogervorst’s height is considered “normal” in his eyes. His mother is 6 feet tall and “that’s normal,” he claims. His father is 6 feet 5 inches, his younger brother, who is 16, is already 7 feet tall.

Although he feels right at home in Holland with a lot of tall people, here in the U.S. the average height of male over 20 years old is just 5 feet 9 inches, according to statistics from www.theaveragebody.com/average_height.php

The average height of an American is a bit shorter than a Dutchman according to www.wisegeek.org/which-country-has-the-tallest-people.htm. “Statistically, the tallest people in the world, as measured by country are the Dutch.” Their average height is 6 feet and 1 inch.

For Hogervorst, being tall has led to some amusing moments. He stated that when he was 13 and a freshman in high school, he would quite often be mistaken for a senior because of his height.

Although his height is well above average he claims to not have a problem when it comes to purchasing clothing here in the United States. On the contrary, it is in the Netherlands that he has to special-order clothing and shoes.

“If you’re tall in the Netherlands you’re out of luck,” says Hogervorst, because even though people are taller on average, it’s harder to come across clothes that fit. He usually has to special order his shoes or clothes to find items that fit.

Here in the U.S. he can find shoes pants and not have to special order them and that makes things much more convenient, he said.

All in all, while in the Netherlands it’s a bit more complex or a hassle, the transition from the Netherlands to going to school here at Norwich proved pretty easy. “It wasn’t much different,” he said.

“Both countries are highly modernized,” he said. In addition, he said that growing his family would make trips to the United States to come visit family and friends, so he was familiar with American customs and holidays.

At the age of 13, Hogervorst was already 6 feet 8 inches and so by now he has grown used to the odd looks he sometimes receives for being so tall.

Although he started off playing water polo as a sport, he picked up a basketball at the age of 9 and has since then yet to put it down.

His above average height made him a natural for basketball and he has been starting on the Norwich basketball team since last season’s second game.

Asked about his role on the team and how he feels he contributes towards the team’s success, he humbly responded that “he’s nothing special, because everyone on the team has their own role and everyone plays their role and equally contributes towards the success of the team.”

Hogervorst’s hard work and positive attitude on court is a reflection of his character off the court as well. Even though he’s had a few awkward encounters, such as people taking pictures or attempting to mimic his large-man steps, he takes it all in stride with good humor. He simply looks it over and continues on his way.

Hogervorst has kept himself goal-orientated at Norwich where he is working towards a degree in electrical engineering and computer science Though he hasn’t decided whether to stay in the United States or go back to the Netherlands after graduating from Norwich, he said that one of the major deciding factors would be whether or not he received a job offer. Until then, he’ll play basketball and probably continue to be the tallest man on campus.

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